A new battle front has opened up in the war between Telstra and Optus with content and delivery systems set to be the new weapons as the two go head to head.
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On one hand Telstra has their 500GB T Box and over 2000 movies, while Optus has rolled out their Fetch TV IPTV offering which is a 1 Terabyte box with 450+ movies and what appears to be a superior interface to the T Box offering.
Optus’ new offering is said to be available from later this week.
The big issue now is the cost with Optus claiming that $9.95 a month deal which includes PVR set top box, free to air channels (a minimum cost of $289.30 over 24 months) as well as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube apps is a superior offer to the current Telstra T Box.
The service is only currently available to Optus customers either its via broadband service or as a post-paid mobile user.
The “competitive” $9.95 package also includes 30 free movies a month (or one a day) and the set top box which allows for 250 hours of storage.
But the Telco is offering the deal on $109 Fusion broadband plan, and cutting the price by $9.95, thus costing $99 monthly, but still means consumers will have to commit to over $2686.45 over 24 months.
This includes 24 month usage as well as $9.95 modem delivery fee, $35 set up charge and another $15.50 for delivery. Cancellation of the contract costs $150.
Either way, a fixed broadband connection with 3Mbps is crucial although this doesn’t have to be an Optus connection. Although in this case you still need to be a Post-Paid mobile customer to avail of the IPTV service and have a widescreen TV.
Data usage generated by using the service are unmetered for Optus customers and charges will be credited back to your account, but users will have to cough up for using social apps like YouTube, as well as interface components, graphics and images.
In addition, data usage may be ‘throttled’ if you are close to your limit, according to the T&Cs.
And wireless connection although adequate is not the best option to get full use of the package, say Optus.
At the OptusMeTV launch today, held in a private apartment in Surrey Hills, the Optus and FetchTV ‘coalition’ demoed the new product which “redefines conventional TV viewing”.
The on-demand TV service, demoed on a Samsung Smart TV, showed a user interface that is sharp and smart with several window functions including Apps, My Stuff, MeTV, Movies and Manage.
Optus MeTV can be controlled via iPad and iPhone from next month
The picture quality was top notch even when viewing videos via social media apps from the web like YouTube – and you can even tweet about programmes you dig from the comfort of your couch.
The service also records programme, stops, rewinds instantly, and will add buffer time if recorded programme runs over.
Users can manage recordings very effectively and select how many episodes to retain over time, and the record function is simple to use showing the full list of all recordings, similar to Foxtel menu.
It is like the standard FetchTV functionality already rolled out to Internode but has some differences, say Optus.
And iPhone and iPad owners hold on, apps to help control your Optus TV service via your device should be availble next month, as well as rolling out to other Android devices.
The movies element, which currently has 430 titles but will blossom to 1000 by the New Year and ‘Movie Box’ offers 30 free older titles a month and seven additional titles every week.
New release movies will cost $3.95 – $6.95 depending, with almost instant download speeds – the movie downloaded as demoed today took less than 60 seconds to complete and kick into action.
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There are also other ‘TV subscription packs’ including documentaries, kids and music offering series like ABC Factual, Planet Earth and National Geographic, costing a further $6.95 per month.
However, although the costs do appear to be building up, full subscription to all the extras costs $35, OptusMeTV confirmed.
The service is a “true counterweight” to Telstra T Box offering, declared FetchTV CEO Scott Lorson today, and creates a true “coalition” against the market leader.
“Optus MeTV with fetch will strike a real cord with hungry entertainment Australian households looking for great content and state of hte art PVR, all at a very attractive price,” he added.
And the $9.95 service is “much more competitive” and different to Telstra’s alternative, the new IPTV partners insist.
And the telco “wont be resting on their laurels,” with big plans to introduce more catch-up TV, language, lifestyle and travel content packages, it promised today.
Available from later this week, although refused to confirm an exact date, the service can be bought online, in-store and the box will be delivered to your home.
Let the content battle begin….popcorn anyone?